Empowerment of citizens

PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Sunday inaugurated Pakistan Citizens’ Portal at the Prime Minister Office with an aim to ‘timely address problems of the people and get their feedback’. The portal will be available to citizens in the form of a cellphone app yet they will also be able to approach the government through telephone, email or letters. It will be used to send complaints and suggestions to Prime Minister Office directly and the office will oversee the process of addressing public complaints and their implementation.
The Prime Minister rightly described the initiative as first step towards improving governance and creating conducive environment for investment. This is because, if implemented in letter and in spirit, the initiative would help resolve problems of the people vis-à-vis different government institutions and agencies and contribute towards realisation of cherished goal of transparency and good governance. It is understood that people have numerous complaints about government agencies and presently find no appropriate forum to get them addressed satisfactorily. The portal would serve as a means to assess performance of various ministries, divisions and departments and in a way make them accountable. As ministries and organisations would know that there is a forum at the highest level to lodge complaints against them where they will be held accountable for their misdoings, they would try to improve their performance and output.
Going by the fact that people from all walks of life have complaints and grievances against almost all ministries and institutions as presently their performance is much below people’s expectations and mostly work is done by palm greasing. So it would be a Herculean task to receive and properly process all complaints. This would require huge effort on part of the PM Office to respond to all complaints, otherwise people would lose trust and confidence in the system. Complaints cell already exist in Presidency, PM Office, CM Offices, Supreme Court and many other national institutions but we know complaints are routinely destined to dustbin and only a few lucky people get justice through these cells. One will see how the portal is used to satisfy citizens who have grievances against any ministry or institution but its success can help bring down the instance of litigation in courts and save time and money of complainants.
It will be a big national service by the Prime Minister if he succeeds in exploiting the potential of the portal to weed out corruption from government offices, red-tape, helps streamline provision of utilities like electricity and gas connections and speedy disposal of pension and other cases.

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